March 18, 2017
BENEFITING: PLUMMER HOME FOR BOYS
ORGANIZER: PLUMMER HOME FOR BOYS
EVENT: 2017 Boston Marathon
EVENT DATE: Apr 17, 2017
Hello, my name is Jibreel llanthirayan Santiago and I am 23 Years old-24 in February. I am currently studying at the Van Loan Graduate School of Management at Endicott College, in Beverly, Massachusetts. There, I am pursuing a Master of Business Administration with a minor in Hospitality Management. This is a part-time program which I hope to complete, in May 2017. In addition to my education, I am working part- time at Ollies Restaurant as a Host in Manchester, NH where I currently reside.
Having an Associate degree, a Bachelor's degree, and getting a Master's degree in May and potentially pursuing another Master's degree in Sports Science I am beyond jovial and very proud of the accomplishments and achievements that I have made in my education. Another source of pride is one of profound significance in my life. This significance is that I will be accomplishing my life-long dream of running in the Boston Marathon this year for the second time. I am very excited for yet another opportunity and proving the Plummer Home Boys and Girls that you can be anything you want to be if only you believe in yourself and reach far high into the stars.
Ever since I was a young boy I would run to and from the Boys and Girls Club. The reason why I like to run to and from the Club was because I can feel free and safe and till this day I feel that way so much so that I feel like a different person every time I step onto the pavement or track. Running is my blood, I breathe and I live running. Running for me was a way to cope with my emotions and escape the pain when I was just a boy. Now, I run with gifted, passion, love, and serenity. Running will always be in my blood and will always be a part of my life.
My life change for the Greater Good:
At the age of 16, I moved to the Plummer Home for Boys and now Girls in Salem, Massachusetts. I made this choice on my own to live at this facility to experience a normal life and to learn how to become an independent young man. Before I moved to Salem I was living in Plymouth, Massachusetts with my gracious and benevolent foster parents (who I call mom and dad) from whom I felt loved, and considered them to be my family.
After discovering that I wanted a transition in my life I was contacted by the director of Plummer Home for Boys. At first, I was skeptical, not knowing if this was the place for me because I never been acclimated to a group living setting. I felt lost but I garnered optimism. I was placed in the independent living program, a separate entity just upstairs from the group home. There I learned how to cook, clean, do my own laundry, and to interact with other staff, housemates, and go to school as well.
Six years later and I am beyond proud of what I achieved and accomplished when I was at the Plummer Home. Till this day I say to myself, wow, I had tremendous growth in me. I did that by immersing myself in the program and becoming a mentor and role model for the clients past and present. I also became a driven person of resilience, dedication, and success. I was well liked, and some staff would agree that they auspicious me than others, but in all I was was a STAR as one staff echoed to me every time I visit. In the end, I was blessed to have found the Plummer Home for it gave me a good foundation in life, a foothold on which I could begin to climb the ladder of success. I was a family member there and not just a number and the clients that walked in through those doors will see that first-hand.
Through the Plummer Home, I made a connection to B&S Sport Science. This gym was my very first job when I arrived at the Plummer Home. They gave me the tool and drive to gain more confidence in myself and to show the world what I was capable of. I would wake up every morning 4:30 ride my bike to the Salem Commons and participate in the Boot Camp session, which consists of running on Tuesday and Thursday with Brandi Dion and her team. I also participated in various activities like preparing for my 1st 1/2 marathon. Thanks to the success I gained there I successfully completed/ competed in 6 1/2 marathons and other races as well, which include 10-mile, 20-mile race, 6.66 mile, 5k, and 3k, and most of the races I raced in I placed in 1st and 2nd in my age category with one 1/2 marathon placing in 3rd place. I started competing in road races at age 16 and till now.
I fondly remember my days at the Plummer Home. My goal when I first stepped into the building was to run the Boston Marathon. I want to run it for Plummer Home because they gave me my life back and I will be forever grateful for the vast opportunity. They did so much for me in those five years. They were like my parents. I learned some valuable experience when I was at the home. I want to give back to the home by running the Boston Marathon and say thank you from the bottom of my heart.
My Memorable Running Story:
It was my second half marathon and I just woke up. The Plummer Home is situated right on the Atlantic Ocean. I opened the blinds in the living room and all could see was sunlight glimmering off the water. I looked at the clock, it was 7:55 am. The race was to start at 8:00 AM! I quickly gathered my race bag and shoes, jumped on my bike and peddled as fast as I could to the starting line which fortunately was only about a mile away.
Immediately upon arriving, I saw the runners singing the National Anthem. My heart was beating rapidly. I thought to myself, “will I miss the start?” Running into the building to register, get my bib number and goody bag I nearly stumbled. I then hastily ran outside to the starting line. The starting gun shot rang out and my pace is just doing fine, I am in my element. My shoes are tied snugly my music playing, and the people are cheering us on. I felt so great.
When I arrived at mile 12, close to the end of the race, my right Achilles tendon starts to ache. I continued to do the best that I could. I saw other people in my age groups running by me at the same moment I was struggling to compose myself. I didn't know if I missed my chance in winning this prestigious race.
It was around 10:30 am when they started to announce the winners in each of the age group. I was in the 18-22-year-old category. I was feeling anxious, but at the same time positive.
When my name was called for first place and I started to cry. I can remember that moment when I saw other people in my age group passing me. It just goes to show, that if you believe in yourself, chase after it. Don't worry about what other people are doing. Don't let fear get in the way. Focus on the game and prize.
I had my support system with me that day. I had the Plummer Home staff cheering me on along the route and also when I arrived at the home I had a string of staff members clapping and congratulating me. When I entered the home, a staff member had made me a big sign and had all the staff members and administrators sign their names and personal messages of encouragement and congratulations to me. I felt unbelievably content and loved. I never had the love that the Plummer Home gave me before. I am forever grateful for them for giving me my life back and for giving me a chance.
PLUMMER HOME FOR BOYS wrote -
Plummer Home serves young men and women who have been bouncing around the foster care system for years, or who are at risk of entering the system. We find them families, teach them skills and connect them with community.
Vision & Mission
Every young person has a family unconditionally committed to nurture, protect and guide them to successful adulthood.
Young people who leave the foster care or juvenile justice system without safe, stable & permanent family connections face grim outcomes, including high rates of homelessness, unemployment, early parenting and lack of education.
Plummer is changing that by deeply and effectively engaging families for each young person we serve while building their skills and community connections, and by sharing our knowledge with others.
Why we do it
Because annually, more than 23,000 youth who have been living in group care or foster care leave the child welfare system with no permanent family.
By age 24:
- Almost 4 in 10 will experience homelessness
- More than half will be unemployed
- 2/3 of the girls will become pregnant
How we do it
Our holistic Model of Care is focused on:
- Finding kids permanent families
- Preparing kids with skills, and
- Connecting them with their communities
Where we do it
- Group Home for 12 boys between 13 and 18 years old.
- Supported Apartment for young men ages 16–22. On same premises as Group Home.
- Community-based 1-bedroom apartments for young men or women who turned 18 while in group care or foster care.
- Foster Care for girls and boys birth to age 22, though we prefer to work with older youth.
- On Point Teen Resource Center for youth at risk of being removed from their families for having minor brushes with the law. Also, serves neighborhood youth.
Learn more at: www.plummerhome.org